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HRG is introducing a new web-based platform which aims to cover all desktop and mobile devices in a move away from traditional apps.
The TMC has redeveloped its online I-Suite portal to create a web-based portal which is designed to offer a consistent display and experience for all devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
Paul Saggar, HRG’s director of group technology development, said the idea of creating a single platform had come from the huge number of new phones and tablets which had entered the market in the last year.
“We have previously produced apps because we were reacting to what clients said they wanted,” said Saggar at the Business Travel Show in London. “But you cannot do this for every device that is coming out.
“We are trying to provide a consistent experience regardless of device. We have been rethinking our approach – people are more mobile but there are still issues such as bandwidth and roaming charges.”
The new platform, which has been developed inhouse by HRG, includes a range of different elements, including booking details, flight status updates, expense management, weather forecasts and other information - all of which can be personalised and moved around the screen, although some elements can also be locked into position by travel managers.
“Because we have designed it for all devices, it has to be able to be used as a touch screen so it is finger-friendly as well as being keyboard and mouse-friendly,” added Saggar.
The mobile version of the portal, which uses internet language HTML5, will connect through wifi or mobile networks. Saggar said that HRG would be sending out a “minimum of information” to avoid potentially high roaming and data costs when travelling overseas.
“We don’t want to send out a huge amount of data but it will be up to the user to decide what they want,” he added.
The new mobile app is being trialled with a handful of HRG clients with plans to launch it fully in the second quarter of 2013.
HRG has also unveiled a new meetings manager allowing clients to search and book for meeting space (both internally and externally) alongside their travel arrangements. The system also allows corporates to calculate the entire cost of a meeting by adding up the travel fares of all the company’s attendees.